A Second Expert Opinion

This CNN mental health expert, a Dr. Charles Raison, apparently has all the answers. A woman is asking about the likelihood of her children getting bipolar disorder when her boyfriend’s grandmother and father were so labeled. His answer to the question, What are the chances my future kids will be bipolar?, appropriately or not, is entitled Expert Answer.

Consider the situation with twins. If you are an identical twin and your twin has bipolar disorder you have a 50 percent chance of having or getting it yourself. If you are a non-identical twin the risk falls to around 10 percent in most studies. If both your parents have bipolar disorder you have a 50 percent chance of getting it say some studies….

“Some studies”!? Some studies say this, some studies say that. How thorough have your calculations been there?

….If only one parent has it, your odds fall to around 10 percent. What I find really amazing is that if you have a parent or a sibling with bipolar disorder you are about twice as likely to have regular old depression as you are to come down with bipolar disorder.

The news though isn’t all bad

But there is a piece of good news. A number of studies suggest that family members without the full disease tend to be more creative and/or intelligent than average, run-of-the-mill folks, which may be part of the reason why the genes for bipolar disorder are still with us. Some of the greatest poets of the past 200 years have had bipolar disorder, as have many artists, scientists and political leaders.

Whoopee! Sheer genius is akin to bipolar disorder, narcissism, too. How necessary the artiste has become, let’s have more of them. Fruitcakes, too.

I worry that such mathmatical conclusions probably stem from sloppy research techniques rather than from reality. Researchers, particularly those in the more dubious sciences, have a way of getting the results they want. One wonders what aspects of ‘the condition’ they may have neglected to account for in arriving at these findings.

There are families that rely on psychiatrists to solve their problem members. Psychiatrists typically have one solution for every human problem, and that solution is the pharmaceutical product. Psychiatrists could hardly do this if they weren’t heavily invested in the pharmaceutical industry in one fashion or another. A number of prominent doctors are being investigated by the senate in this country because of this conflict of interest right now.

There are schizophrenic families, and I suspect there are bipolar families, too. These families get schizophrenic and bipolar labeled family members by relying on psychiatry. Psychiatrists treat mental disorders, and the implication is that if you go to see a psychiatrist you must ‘have something wrong with you.’ If you don’t, well, the psychiatrist is likely to find something ‘wrong’ with you anyway. That’s his or her livelihood after all.

Um, and given your family and your psychiatrist, who’s to find something ‘right’ with you?

He’s taking one good step, and that’s finding a new family (her). Now there’s the second step to consider, and that’s avoiding the psychiatrist’s office like the plague.